More Than One Hundred Arrested In West Papua Including 9-year Old Boy

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It’s midnight in West Papua and the public protest to commemorate the signing of the New York Agreement, didn’t go well. Protesters anticipated the reaction of the Indonesian police force and were prepared for it. During the public march, the Indonesian police and defense force arrested over one hundred West Papuan protesters throughout Indonesia, including a 9-year old kid whose only crime was ‘marching with his fellow West Papuans. Obviously, the police perceived him to be a threat to the government of Indonesia and therefore arresting him was justified. Those arrested were protesting peacefully on the day when world powers gambled over the future of West Papua 54 years ago.

Little History

On August 15, 1962, the Indonesian representatives and representatives of the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed an agreement brokered by the United States and United Nations leaders to end the conflict between Indonesia and the Dutch. In that agreement, the Dutch government agreed to give up its territory known then as ‘West New Guinea’ – modern day West Papua – to the United Nations under the impression that the indigenous people would gain their independence thereafter. The territory became a UN mandate in 1962 only to be turned over to the Indonesian government – the very government that wanted West Papua and threatened to go to war if the Dutch government didn’t give it up. That agreement is known as the ‘New York Agreement’ (NYA). Not only did the United Nations knowingly transferred the security of West Papua to Indonesia under this rather bizarre agreement, West Papuan leaders back then weren’t allowed to even participate in the negotiation process and the signing of the agreement. Between 1962 and 1969, however, the Indonesian government exerted absolute control over indigenous people; killing those who openly rejected Indonesia’s authority over West Papua and imprisoned majority of the dissidents. Around 1969, seven years into Indonesian control of West Papua, the Indonesian government rounded up a thousand voters – less than a fraction of the indigenous people – and coerced them to vote in favor of the integration of West Papua and Indonesia. That election is known as “The Act of Free Choice”. This rigged election gave the neo-colonial government of Indonesia, absolutely control and occupation of West Papua. One can conclude from this history that the United Nations orchestrated one of the biggest transfers of a whole nation of people from one colonial government (the Dutch government) to the other, the Republic of Indonesia.

Chapter VII of the New York Agreement

Chapter VII of the New York Agreement

Remembering this day

Every year, West Papuan protesters take to the streets to try to bring attention back to the controversial NYA and the sham referendum election of the 1969 – the Act of Free Choice. For five decades, West Papuans argued that everything was illegally thrown at them by an ambitious colonial government (Indonesia) with the help of the United Nations and the powerful leaders within that organization. Since 2000, public protest has become the most effective way for the indigenous people to express their grievances against its colonial occupier, however, the Indonesian police reaction to these public protests also evolved.

Over the years, the Indonesian defense force and soldiers reacted aggressively and violently toward peaceful protesters. To justify such violent reaction to public protests, the Indonesian government passed a law that justifies such violent acts. Protests are arrested, locked up, questioned without lawyers, and incarcerated for decades. Protestors like Herman Wainggai were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned after weeks of unfair trials. Others made it out safely, some weren’t so fortunate.

This year, 2016, the WPNA and other indigenous West Papuan organizations organized peaceful rallies throughout West Papua to mark the signing of the NYA. As anticipated, protesters throughout West Papua were violently manhandled by the Indonesian police. Reports of protesters being shot, others badly injured while leaders were arrested. The Indonesian police arrested men and women and even children, including a 9-year old kid. Other protesters were violently beaten on the spot in broad daylight. These young protesters – all of them don’t pose a threat to the security of Indonesia – were hauled to police stations where they were interrogated and released, including the 9-year-old kid who was arrested and questioned at the police station. A few weeks ago, children who marched in support of West Papuan application for permanent membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) were arrested alongside little babies. This shows the depth and width of the Indonesian government’s paranoia that one day West Papuans will slip out of their hands forever.


Human Rights violation in West Papua

In 2007, the United Nations passed “Human Rights” law – the UN Convention and the Indigenous people rights declaration adopted by the UNGA in 2007, which upholds the rights of indigenous to protest and to express their views without being punished for it.This new UN directive received overwhelming support from UN Members, but not Indonesia. In spite of the claims its representatives echoed every year on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Indonesian government passed its own anti-protest Law the same year banning essentially any symbol perceived to be against the government of Indonesia. The Regulation 77 was passed in 2007 by the Indonesian government targeting indigenous West Papuans, especially the pro-independence movement. The West Papuan flag – the Morning Star flag – and other cultural symbols were essentially banned under this law. West Papuan flag-raisers are often charged with “subversion” or so-called “conspiracy to overthrow the government,” which is absolutely absurd. This law is so broad that the UN should have condemned, or at least reprimanded Indonesia for it. The irony of it all is the fact that the Republic of Indonesia is a member of the Human Rights Council.

Herman Wainggai is one of West Papuan leaders and a co-founder of WPNA who is currently living in exile; a former political prisoner himself condemned this Indonesian police brutality and the arrest of children and innocent, unarmed protesters. Talking to him on Facebook, Mr. Wainggai said those West Papuan protesters are merely exercising their God-given right to “free speech” and the Indonesian government must respect it. He described them as a very brave group of people who want nothing but freedom. He had been up all night monitoring and communicating with the protesters back in West Papua through ‘Social Media’ sites, and he is confident that the protesters are not going to give up. He said that the “protesters must keep fighting nonviolently (peacefully) even though they are facing the power of the Indonesian military and police. They must keep up the fight.” Mr. Wainggai is extremely concerned about the safety of these peaceful protesters.

13923755_10202300600672145_3890533861970158414_oHe also made this startling claim that “Indonesia is afraid” of the nonviolent movement in West Papua because they don’t know how to deal with them. They have to lie to the world about the way they treated peaceful protesters, which is in his view an indication that the Indonesian government knows its own violent approach to peaceful protests is absolutely wrong. They do not only using weapons against unarmed peaceful protesters, they also employ psychological warfare against the leaders. For instance – a day before the protest, a poster of one of his fellow Nonviolent Political Activists and one of the organizers of the peaceful protests in Manokwari, Markus Yenu, surfaced all over town with the words “Wanted Dead of Alive” written all over it. Mr. Wainggai explained that the Indonesian intelligence officers in West Papua are known for playing such mind-games: “They are good at playing mind-games using threatening messages such as this.” When asked about Mr. Yenu, he spoke highly of him. He is someone who had been with him throughout the years in the struggle and also participated in Nonviolent Workshops in Wewak, a town in Papua New Guinea not far from the West Papua/Papua New Guinea border.

“Mr. Markus is a renowned West Papuan political activist who has dedicated his life, as I do, to the ‘Nonviolent Movement’ in West Papua. He had led many West Papuan protests over the years and now he’s in the cross-hairs of the Indonesian government.” Mr. Wainggai said. He believes that the poster targeting Mr. Yenu may have been created by the Indonesian intelligence officers because no one is brave enough to do this kind of thing, except those who know Mr. Yenu and don’t want him to lead this protest. “I believe that the Indonesian government is targeting him and I’m really concerned about his safety,” he said.

When asked about the future of the West Papuan struggles, He replied, “I involved in this struggle since 1988 till today and I see the same pattern from the Indonesian defense force. Apparently, things haven’t changed in West Papua. Our Melanesia people still living under oppression and colonialism today, ” he said. Mr. Wainggai added, “peace must begin with Indonesia respecting the rights of West Papuans to express their views in public and to call to attention the unresolved issues of the past.”

Names of Protesters Arrested
WPNA Protesters

  1.  Sius Ayemi (32),
  2.  Mambrasar (25)
  3. Frans Rumbruren (25),
  4. Dony Arobaya (19),
  5. Beny Adadikam (24),
  6. Pithein Sada (26),
  7. Andarias Manggaprouw (28),
  8. Yan Rumbruren (29),
  9. Daud Sroer (17)
  10. Ricki Kambuaya (26),
  11. Eduard Hombore (28),
  12. Kristin Yenu (8)
  13. Adam Yenu (11),
  14. Leo Wihyawari (21),
  15. Patmos Kirihio (20),
  16. Robby Bisay (19),
  17. Salmond Mariadu (16),
  18. Abner Rumbruren (18),
  19. Nua Yowei (19),
  20. Paul Mandowen (29),
  21. Marthinus Rumbewas (51),
  22. Yusak Randui (25)
  23. dan Yesaya Mariadu (18).

KNPB Protesters

1. Calvin wenda – Chairman KNPB Numbay

2. The Chairman of the Commissariat KNPB GOO Saugas Numbay

3. Caky Kobak

4. Lanek endama

5. Obet Heluka

6. Janius Silak

7. Robert Yalimaken

8. Yusub Giban

9. Weko Kogoya

10. Immanuel PegKei

11. Berto Gobay

12. Eliatan Hisage

13. Alinus Kabak

14. Jakinus Balingga

15. Sony Mote

16. Yali Mulalo

17. Lakas Balingga

18. Julian Pekei

19. Martinus Giban

20. Justin Pigome

21. Alex Boma

22. Heroni Mohi

23. Edison Kogoya

24. Hernes bark

25. Jek Mote

26. Itoni Pahabol

27. Keniel Lokon

28. Panus Lokon

29. Tanto Sorabut

30. Nias Balingga

31. Sibrit Suhuniap

32. Alex Sambom

33. Timo Balingga

34. Yali Bahabol

35. Law Bahabol

36. Asak Lintamon

37. Weang Halitnowe

38. Jilaus Bahabol

39. Ani Halitibo

40. Singhon Silak

41. Onsel Balingga

42. Yalihwe Balinggga

43. The Chairman Yimy broway KNPB Numbay

44. Marten Sorabut

45. Michael Mote

46. Steven Degey

47. Abet Mote

48. Abet Yeimo

49. Samuel Maday

50. Yan Degey

51. Peter Pigay

52. Jemy Tenoye

53. Set Gobay

54. Natalia Magay

55. Meky Gobay

56. Rebekah Komba

Sius Ayemi is said to be taking full responsibility for all the WPNA protests.

Intervention – Free West Papua

West Papua is one of most militarized places on earth and there’s a reason why – to keep West Papuans in check and total submission. The Indonesian government gave its military and police unprecedented power to use on West Papuans. They monitor West Papuans and targeting them for arrest and incarceration. Thus, killings of innocent people by police and military officials are often ignored by the Indonesian government; these murderers are still active in the military and police today.

Today, West Papua is closed to the world. Visitors who appeared suspicious are either trailed by intelligent officers or are told to report to the government of their activities throughout West Papua. Foreign visitors have their passports taken under the Indonesian immigration claims that it is for their (visitors) good. The media and journalists are banned from West Papua in spite of the lies coming our of Jakarta about media freedom in West Papua. It is Indonesia’s policy to further isolate one of the most beautiful spots in the South Pacific because its indigenous inhabitants want to be free from Jakarta’s colonial oppression.
The videos and pictures coming out of West Papua today are from individual West Papuans with mobile phones. They are able to broadcast to the world the absolute brutality of the Indonesian government. The international community – in this case, the United Nations – cannot afford to sit back and watch West Papuans being tortured and murdered by a member of the UN family. The irony is that this brutal government is also a member of the “Human Rights Council”.


Mr. Wainggai explained that the “indigenous people of West Papua Melanesia need International mediation” to help achieve their “self-determination” aspirations as guaranteed by International law and conventions on human rights. “All People have the right to self-determination,” he said. “You can see that on the banners displayed by our WPNA activists – they want self-determination,” he explained.

Apparently, the cries of the people for Self-determination never die. “It’s been like this for 54 years now,” he said. He explained that even though he lives on the other side of the planet and has been away for ten years now, the struggle continues, it will never die, and the recent advancement in technology makes it possible to communicate and monitor what his friends back home are going through. Mr. Wainggai also said, “I hope the MSG meeting in Vanuatu Will take into consideration our protests today and stand up for what is right – stand up for their brothers and sisters in West Papua who are being brutalized in their own homeland.” To date, MSG and PIF administrations have no condemned Indonesian actions in spite of the fact that Indonesia is a member of the MSG and the Pacific Islands Development Forum.

He’s also hoping that the UNGA meeting in 2020 will solve West Papuan struggle – the suffering of his people, which he believes can only be solved or resolved by the UN body.